The San Antonio federal court has set a date in July of 2014 to resolve the litigation relating to the 2011 and 2013 redistrictings.
A federal three-judge panel in San Antonio on Friday issued a schedule for the case, mostly granting state attorneys’ wishes to have the claims regarding 2011 and 2013 redistricting maps argued in one trial. The Department of Justice and civil rights groups who waged the legal challenge, claiming the maps discriminate against minorities, had asked for a bifurcated trial process.
The trial is set to start on July 14, 2014 and “will continue day to day until complete,” U.S. District Judge Orlando Garcia wrote. The scheduling order also set a variety of pre-trial deadlines
According to the filing, the trial will first dive into remaining issues from 2011 redistricting maps and then pivot to Section 3 claims related to those plans. From there, the court will take up evidence about redistricting maps passed by the Legislature over the summer, followed by arguments over Section 3 relief based on that set of election boundaries.
Texas Redistricting noted a week earlier that the state wanted a single trial for both 2011 and 2013 but the plaintiffs wanted two separate ones; the Justice Department proposed a schedule that was a bit of a hybrid. While the state got what it wanted schedule-wise – it made the reasonable point that the two-trial schedule, with the second trial in September, could wind up interfering with the 2016 election cycle, given the inevitability of appeals and the December of 2015 filing deadline – the plaintiffs got their wish to litigate 2011 and 2013 issues separately. Their point about the players being different in each cycle – Burt Solomons was the Redistricting Committee Chair in 2011, but he retired from the Lege after that session – carried weight as the court ruled that the two would be done sequentially rather than at once.
Here’s the schedule of events as we now know them:
April 2 – Deadline for dispositive motions.
May 14 – Deadline to complete supplementation of discovery.
June 2 – Deadline for bench briefs on section 3 relief and for pre-trial disclosures.
July 2 at 8:30 a.m. – Pretrial conference.
The length of the trial is not set, with the court saying it “would continue from day to day until complete.” Mark your calendars and get ready for the action.